DANVILLE — Police Chief Chris Yates and Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. told the Danville City Council’s Public Services Committee Tuesday night some good news of the city receiving COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) grant funding.
The bad news is, the city didn’t receive the full $1.4 million it solicited for six police officers.
Yates said the city was contacted by the Department Of Justice that Danville was one of nine communities in Illinois to receive a grant.
“We’re the only downstate community,” Yates said.
Williams said unfortunately, the $750,000 grant doesn’t cover the full costs of the six officers.
He said the city will have to come up with about $1.2 million over the next few years.
“I think it’s worth the investment,” Williams said. “I think it’s good for our community.”
Yates outlined for aldermen the ways the officers would be used toward three different initiatives.
Four officers would be for a special crimes unit to focus primarily on violence and drugs and people involved with those two issues. The officers would have more time for investigations and research, working with other officers and community agencies.
Another officer would serve as a community liaison officer, as another form of communication in the community.
The final officer would be a domestic violence officer. The patrol officer would help other officers with their domestic violence reports and coordinate domestic violence awareness education into schools and with community organizations.
Williams said the city needs to investigate drugs and violence with the intensity and scrutiny needed. He said people can be arrested, but appropriate prosecution is needed with the violence and other things that come along with drugs.
In other business, Williams and City Clerk Lisa Monson said the city’s been approached by a multi-billion dollar company that delivers goods and services that wants to deliver liquor as part of their delivery service.
Drug and grocery stores are class PG liquor licenses, but Monson said a lot of times those don’t work with the square footage of spaces.
Monson said the city could have a new liquor license classification.
Williams said they wanted to find out from aldermen if they’d be acceptable to that.
The company’s primary business isn’t delivering alcohol, but the city would need to create a mechanism for the company, if locating here, to do so, he said.
Williams said from his perspective, he wouldn’t want liquor stores to deliver, but wouldn’t have a problem with a company delivering other food items and other goods to also deliver liquor.
Committee members largely said they’d be fine with it, but would like more information about the company.
Ward 2 Alderman Rick Strebing said a liquor store on Main Street delivered beer years ago in the city.
Monson said the inquiring company would deliver liquor from licensed distributors.
Corp. Counsel James Simon said the company has been operating in Champaign-Urbana for years, and in his time there, he wasn’t aware of any problems.
Simon said they’re more like a warehouse, starting out with snacks to college campuses and growing, with food, snacks, baby and other household products. The company has a number of locations across the country.
Ward 4 Alderwoman Tricia Teague said someone can deliver wine through the postal service.
City officials will bring a resolution to aldermen.
In other business, the committee voted 5-1, with one seat vacant, against proposed zoning ordinance changes regarding recreational vehicles and campers parked at residences. Proposed changes were to again restrict the campers, watercraft and trailers to side or rear yards, and allowing temporarily on hard surfaces.
Strebing said he thinks the ordinance came back to aldermen too quickly without addressing everything the public and aldermen have asked for. He said not enough thought has gone into it.
Some aldermen suggest a compromise on allowing temporary parking of campers or the other items, such as for three days. However, other aldermen said that can’t be enforced.
Aldermen also again talked about how camper code enforcement isn’t consistent across wards and the city.
“I just want some consistency,” said Ward 7 Alderman Darren York.